Mussels and chorizo in red sauce

I decided to cook this dish for my daughter & her friends to celebrate the 2014 Portarlington Mussel Festival. The sauce takes a while to prepare as it really needs to cook on a low heat for a couple of hours for the full flavour to develop. The recipe can be used with marinara mix or roasted eggplant, sometimes I add more vegetables (zucchini, spinach, kale or mushrooms) but today I wanted to present a simple red sauce.  The sauce needs a good supply of bread to soak it up, believe me you will need it! Each time I make it I think I have made too much but it always disappears, a fresh garden salad is a perfect partner  or a spinach & feta cheese pie.

Mussels and chorizo in red sauce
Recipe type: Entree or main course
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Local mussels with spicy chorizo sausage in a red sauce - you must have a good loaf of bread - you will need it!
  • 1 kg mussels cleaned
  • stock to steam mussels
  • 1 spicy chorizo sausage
  • 1 med fennel bulb
  • 2 x 400gm tins cherry tomatoes (or fresh) seeded and skinned (put through a sieve)
  • 1 med onion, shallots or spring onion greens, chopped roughly (optional)
  • 1 med red capsicum roasted, skinned & chopped (or buy already prepared)
  • 1 med zucchini (skin removed) chopped
  • Chillies if you like it hot (chorizo has some chilli)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 whole but crushed garlic cloves
  • parsley and/or basil to taste
  • salt/pepper
  • smoky paprika
  • sprinkle of sugar if using canned tomatoes
  1. Place onion, red capsicum, zucchini, ½ chorizo (with skin removed and cut in small chunks) and fennel into a large bowl of a food processor and process until a pulp like consistency is reached (you may need to add a splash of water or oil to help it along).
  2. Place into a large pan (I use my wok) with a splash of olive oil and fry the mixture and garlic cloves over low heat for at least 30min (more is good but you have to watch it!) stirring often and adding some water or oil if it looks like sticking.
  3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook over low heat for another 30min or more if you have the time (the longer it cooks the better the taste).
  4. Steam the prepared mussels in batches in a large saucepan with just water or flavour the water with whatever you like (I used star anise, lime, herbs and a splash of white wine). They only take a couple of minutes to cook (they start to open up).
  5. Do not use damaged mussels and be careful as you remove them from the stock as they may let go of hot water (I don't want this liquid in the sauce which is why I cook them separately).
  6. When cool enough to handle remove one of the shells (I find this an easier way to eat rather than pulling them apart while eating). Set aside.
  7. Fry the remaining chorizo in thin slices and add to the red sauce.
  8. Add salt, pepper, sugar and paprika to taste (maybe more chilli) & remove the garlic.
  9. Add the mussels to the sauce and cook on low to warm them up.
  10. Roughly chop loads of parsley and basil and sprinkle over the dish.
  11. Serve with bread and salad.


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